A court in Zimbabwe has ordered for former president Robert Mugabe’s body to be exhumed and reburied at the national heroes’ shrine in the capital city Harare, two years after the controversial figure died.

The ruling is to the dismay of Mugabe’s children who had fought to have their father’s remains stay buried at his rural home, which is 90 kilometres from Harare.

In her judgement, delivered on Friday, 10 September 2021, Regional magistrate Ruth Moyo found that Bona, Bellarmine and Tinotenda Mugabe had no say in the saga surrounding their father’s reburial as it directly involved their mother, former first lady Grace Mugabe.

Background: Bid to rebury Robert Mugabe

The trio had approached the courts to challenge a ruling made by a traditional court in Zvimba, ordering that Robert Mugabe’s remains be exhumed and reburied at the National Heroes Acre because his widow broke local customs when she gave the go ahead for him to be laid to rest there. She was also fined  five cows and a goat in absentia.

Mugabe passed away in 2019 at the age of 95, two years after he was ousted in a military coup.

The former president’s nephew Leo gave an interview with Voice of America and called the May ruling irrelevant.

“It’s a ruling against a widow and the widow has nothing to do with the burying of her husband. This judgment is irrelevant, if you were to ask me, because in any case, Chief Zvimba does not preside over cases here,” he told the broadcaster.

The irony is that it was Mugabe himself who ordered the creation of the National Heroes Acre shrine, which he saw as a way of honouring those who took part in Zimbabwe’s fight for independence from Britain.

However given the hostilities between Mugabe and members of the Zanu-PF party, which orchestrated his ousting from power, the former leader did not want to be buried there as he feared his political opponents would use his body parts for all kinds of rituals.

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